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Monday, June 30, 2008

One vision, one line of thought, and classical music

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I love TED, but it is not often that I find myself watching the same video over and over again. Using classical music as a medium, Benjamin Zander re-ignited my passion for classical music, my sense of purpose in life, and inspired me to not think about the tiny details which do not matter, and focus on experiencing everything with one broad stroke.

Benjamin Zander: Classical music with shining eyes

©2008 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Pro Blog / SML Universe

Friday, June 27, 2008

How do you design? by Hugh Dubberly

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How do you design? by Hugh Dubberly (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

In this 147-page book (available for download as PDF), Hugh Dubberly collected over one-hundred descriptions of design and development processes in hopes to foster debate about design and development processes.

The book asks interesting questions:
+ How do we design? Why do we do it that way?
+ How do we describe what we do? Why do we talk about it that way?
+ How do we do better?

...with practical goals in mind:
+ reducing risk (increasing the probability of success)
+ setting expectations (reducing uncertainty and fear)
+ increasing repeatability (enabling improvement)

It's an interesting and inspiring read. Highly recommended.

©2008 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Pro Blog / SML Universe

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Orange: First internet balloon race

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Orange launched another advertising campaign: the world's first internet balloon race.

The game is a little bit different than most other internet games in that the game does not occur on one site, but instead occurs among multiple sponsor sites. Anyone can be a sponsor--all you need to do is submit a URL to the game.

Anyone can join the game and get a balloon. The only way to move ahead though, it appears, is when you visit a site, or when anyone decides to give you a boost or when you landed on a site that would give you extras.

The whole experience feels a little bit like web-ring meets 1010wins. If you are determined to win the race, you ended up visiting a ton of sites that you normally won't get to. The 'sponsors' in turn get some brand exposure. In this sense Orange is providing a free advertising platform in the name of an internet game, and through doing so create brand awareness for itself... power to the users?

via CrackUnit

©2008 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Pro Blog / SML Universe

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Foldable display concepts by Johnny Lee

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Johnny Lee from Carnegie Mellon University demonstrates some of his ideas on how we can simulate displays on flexible and foldable surfaces in order to fit large interactive display into our pockets. Tracking is accomplished using the Wii Remote and IR LEDs.

via Aaron Rutledge

©2008 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Pro Blog / SML Universe

Monday, June 23, 2008 = tag clouds with beautiful typography


More visualization goodness: generates typographically beautiful tag clouds via a username or words submitted on your own.

SML Tags
Wordle: SML Tags / 2008-06-23 / SML Screenshots (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

SML Flickr Tags: Use to generate the data needed.
Wordle: SML Flickr Tags / 2008-06-23 / SML Screenshots (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

©2008 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Pro Blog / SML Universe

Many Eyes = Community for data and data visualization

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I found an interesting site called Many Eyes a few weeks ago. It's a collaborative environment where users can upload data sets and use one of the site's visualization module to create interesting visualization.

Many Eyes: SML Flickr Tags: All / 2008-05-24 / SML Screenshots (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

To create the visualization seen above, I first grabbed the complete list of tags from my Flickr account using the flickr.tags.getListUserPopular method. I then formatted the results (tags and tag count) to the format required by the site. After my data is uploaded, I chose to visualize my data using the Bubble Chart format.

Here's an interactive version where you can explore my tags in detail, or search for a tag.

In the screenshot captured above, I searched for my initials SML and highlighted all the tags that contain it. The reason there are so many instances of it being used is partly because I like to use very specific tags, such as SML.Graphic-Design and SML.Appendectomy to easily get to my stuff on the public pool without the need to use combinations or username.

©2008 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Pro Blog / SML Universe

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2008

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I had a lot of fun photographing the Coney Island Mermaid Parade last year so I went back for seconds this year. As I process my photographs, I noticed that I am inherently attracted to really colorful things. The photographs bear similarity to my information design projects :)

Related Flickr Sets
+ Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2008
+ Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2007

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2008 / 20080621.10D.49131 / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2008 / 20080621.10D.49128 / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2008 / 20080621.10D.49264 / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2008 / 20080621.10D.49125 / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2008 / 20080621.10D.49140 / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2008 / 20080621.10D.49116 / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2008 / 20080621.10D.49159 / SML (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

©2008 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Pro Blog / SML Universe

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Frustration with Yahoo Small Business


Last year I registered 200+ domain names with Yahoo. It was cheap and efficient, and all is well... until last week.

I had changed my American Express card number and as a result, when the domain names are up for renewal this year, the system alerted me on outdated information. I tried to update my payment information, and to my surprise there is no way to update all the payment methods at once. Domains' payment information can be updated one at a time only, which is a fundamental UI flaw.

To make matters worse, when I clicked on the link to update my information, the site would consistently return a blank page that leads to no where, and I am unable to update anything. I tried refreshing the page but again nothing happens.

In my frustration, I tried contacting support on the phone, and had been on hold for two hours without any assistance, and the call will then be terminated by the system. There are no email support available, and all the meanwhile I am receiving account suspension notices and my domains are failing one by one, a truly frustrating experience.

Here's when the nightmare begin: when I signed up for the service, the domains were 9.95/year. I just received emails telling me that starting on 2008-07-01, the renewals will cost me 34.95/year. If I were unable to cancel my accounts by that date, I will be paying upwards of close to $10,000 for domain names.

Do you have any suggestions as to what I might do? Alternatively, do you know if there is an email where I can reach customer support?

©2008 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Pro Blog / SML Universe

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Firefox Mobile Concept Video

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Mozilla Labs posted a demo video of the Firefox Mobile on their site today and it's highly innovative using just a single-touch interface — providing yet another great example of how limitations can incubate innovation.

The interaction design is really sweet. For more information, check out the detailed description of all the features on Aza Raskin's blog. (Aza is the head of user experience at Mozilla Labs)

Firefox Mobile Concept Video from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

via LifeHacker

©2008 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Pro Blog / SML Universe

Windows Vista

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Recently I bought a new computer, because my nifty XPC is really starting to feel old. The computer comes with Vista. Because of all the bad press that it has had, I was really worried how it will turn out.

The computer arrived a few weeks ago and I panic: I wonder how I can possibly get use to the Aero glass window title bars with the dirty smudging blurred effect. It irritates me. It's not clean.

But since I'm stuck with it, I had no choice but to customize my experience and make it better. It's been almost a month now and after much tweaking and adjusting (plus switching to Vista Aero Basic mode), it really is not that bad.

The single-panel scrolling program file list was awkward at first, but now that I have used it for a while, I find it to be quite usable. Production level jump, and I'm no longer sticking five million icons into my quick launch bar anymore.

To paraphrase Zuzana Licko, "people read best what they read most" (Source: AIGA), I believe that "people use best what they use most".

Recommended reading
+ Arstechnica: Windows Vista: more than just a pretty face

©2008 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Pro Blog / SML Universe

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Flickr Maps

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Flickr kept on pumping out new features, like this map view, but I don't know how to get to it on their UI unless I type it into the URL:

SML Flickr Map / 2008-06-10 / SML Screenshots (by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML)

One thing I do like about this UI is that it only shows the related places relevant to the currently displayed photostrip, and only photos that are geo-tagged are displayed here.

The default view looks at the most recent photos only, with the option to sort by interestingness.

Other recently launched features include the ability the explore the world and places, allowing the user to either find out about popular cities, or little known destination — which is a great way to learn about the diversity of culture and humanity.

©2008 See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML Pro Blog / SML Universe